Zanzibar is an island in Tanzania facing the east and Indian Ocean, making it the best destination in East Africa travel getaway.
Here are the 9 best free places to visit in order to know more about Stone town, Zanzibar when visiting the island.
1. The Old Fort – The Old Fort (Swahili: Ngome Kongwe)
Also known as the Arab Fort and by other names, is a fortification located in Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar. It is the oldest building and a major visitor attraction of Stone Town.
2. House of Wonder (Beit-Al-Ajaib)
House of Wonder is the home of the Sultan in the Island. Though, it’s been being renovated for years now, you would still see that this is indeed the most beautiful and wonderful structure in the Island.
The high veranda symbolizes that the highest official in the island used to live there. This is also the first establishment in the island that has an elevator built in its time as well as being the first to have an electricity. The Architecture obtain it’s influence from Indian and Persian architecture.
3. Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society
This houses the preservation of the culture of the island, importantly the music influences of Zanzibar raging from European, Persian, African and Indian culture. This was a former mansion of a wealthy family.
The government took over and converted the place into a culture and tourism building facility. As you enter, you would see students learning to play instruments and music. This holds gala and concerts in the island, particularly performances from its students.
4. Old Dispensary
The Dispensary is one of the most finely decorated buildings of Stone Town and a symbol of the multi-cultural architecture and heritage of the city. Its wooden carved balconies, with stained glass decorations, are of Indian influence; the main structure is built with traditional Zanzibari coral rag and limestone.
5. St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Though Zanzibar is dominated by Muslim, Indian, African and Persian culture, despite of these influences, Zanzibarians still manage to live in harmony even today.
Christianity has made its way into the island. St. Joseph is the only catholic church in the Island and visitors are welcomed to attend the mass. The church’s architecture is a classic catholic church and its high towers that are visibly high upon entering the coastline of Stone Town.
6. Freddy Mercury House
The very place where Freddy Mercury, the front and famous vocalist of British band Queen! Mama Mia you won’t let this place go.
This house tells the story of young Freddy and his family, his studies and life in the island.
7. Darajani Spice Market
The Darajani Market (or Bazaar) is the main bazaar in Stone Town, Zanzibar. The market is located in Darajani Road, in the surroundings of the Anglican Cathedral of Christ. The main structure of the market was built in 1904 by Bomanjee Maneckjee for Sultan Ali bin Hamud and resulted to extension and restoration.
Darajani Bazaar is mainly a food market (seafood, meat, fruits, grains, spices), but there are also shops selling a number of different goods, from consumer electronics to clothing.
8. Sunset at Baharia Hindi Beach
Going in the beach of this side of Stone Town helps tourists to learn the culture of the people. It’s a mix of nationalities of tourists from different nations and the locals swimming in the beach from old to young.
9. Forodhani Gardens and Night Market
Travelling is tasting the local food and experiencing culture. Forodhani Gardens is a typical park in the day (just in front of House of Wonders) where coffee shops and small shops visible by the bay.
This park turns to a night food and culture haven at night, thus Forodhani Night Market is born. The night life in the island is here! Tourists and locals are enjoying local delicacies, drinks and mingling around with everyone.
There are many places and things to do in Zanzibar, even just in Stone town alone. If you have the luxury of time and money, consider adding these places in your itinerary.